Beaconhouse launched its first fully virtual School of Tomorrow (SOT) Conference: A World of Tomorrow: Negotiating a Better Future with a special video message from the Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “It’s an honour to join the opening session of the School of Tomorrow Conference. I want to recognise the Government of Pakistan for its comprehensive response to COVID-19,” Dr Ghebreyesus said, acknowledging Pakistan’s efforts in countering the pandemic and saying that the WHO is working closely with the Government of Pakistan.
The opening session of the conference, moderated by Beaconhouse CEO Kasim Kasuri, included Mr.Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’sDirector General for Education & Skills, Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister of Education, Dr. Mishal Khan, a leading epidemiologist from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the UK’s leading public health institution, and The Baroness Mobarik CBE, member of the UK’s House of Lords.
Mr Shafqat Mahmood emphasized the importance of SOPs for students and faculty in evaluating school openings, which he suggested might take place on 15 September. He further addressed the issue of girls’ education and out of school children in Pakistan, suggesting that the same remote learning strategies that were being devised for Covid could address both other issues.
Dr Mishal Khan stressed that while COVID-19 is serious, it has been overly hyped, and that “more than 4,000 people die on a daily basis from other illnesses like Tuberculosis”. She stressed that there are many other diseases and viruses, some far more serious than Covid, that we have learnt to live with.
His Excellency Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama of UAE, the world’s first minister for Artificial Intelligence, addressed a separate session on issues pertinent to digitalization and artificial intelligence.
Panel discussions ran concurrently on topics such as freedom to privacy in information societies with rights activists Nighat Dad and Jibran Nasir alongside the UK’s Lord Jim Knight, student perspectives on learning during lockdowns, designing schools of tomorrow with award-winning international architects and more. Parliamentary-style debates explored the necessity of the lockdown and the effectiveness of online learning for younger children. Issues surrounding environment & climate change were emphasized in a discussion with nature conservationists like Hammad Naqi, CEO WWF-Pakistan, and other esteemed panellists.
The School of Tomorrow conference seeks to understand how Covid-19 is shaping important global conversations about safer and more balanced futures, as well as pushing educators to reimaging the future of education at both school and university levels. The conference continues to stream LIVE on July 11 and 12 on its website (www.sotevents.com) and the social media platforms Facebook and YouTube (Sot Events).
SOT Events are made possible by the generous support of corporate sponsors. The organisers acknowledge the support of United Bank Limited as the Lead Sponsor for SOT Edition XI.
The non-profit School of Tomorrow Event Series was launched in 2000 and is organised by Beaconhouse as part of its ongoing commitment to its social responsibility.